Professionalism in the Workplace Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 17 February 2017

Professionalism in the Workplace

             This article deals with concepts such as incivility in the workplace and “incivility spiral.” The authors describe how the incivility spiral could occur and offer research propositions for further study. Moreover, they explain the implications that workplace incivility pose for practitioners and researchers alike (Andersson & Pearson, 1999).            The authors trace the literature on the importance of civility in society. Such literature is rich with conclusions that state that civility offers functions and moral implications. Literature on the matter likewise describes the workplace as the last bastion of civility. However, they perceive a change in this opinion, brought about by many factors, such as employee diversity, autocratic environments, and hiring of part-time workers, which affect the trend of incivility and aggressiveness in the business world (Andersson & Pearson, 1999).

        The authors described workplace incivility as actions that are characterized by rudeness or discourtesy. They represent violations of the norms of an organization. One form taken by workplace incivility is aggression, which is manifested in acts like physical abuse, harassment, and sabotage. These acts are bound by the characteristic of intent to injure another (Andersson & Pearson, 1999).            Incivility in the organization has a spiraling effect, where secondary spirals result from primary ones. This tendency requires managers to correct their actions that may contribute to the growth of incivility as an organizational norm. Moreover, there should be efforts at curtailing incivility within the organization (Andersson & Pearson, 1999). Church, A. H. & Waclawski, J. (1999).

The Impact of Leadership Style on Global

      Management Practices. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29(7), 1416-1443.

        This article is concerned with the trend in businesses today to go global. Church and Waclawski describe how the trend has influenced schools into studying and implementing strategies relative to the new global economy. More importantly, they describe how the trend pushes corporations to adopt a global approach in their businesses (Church & Waclawski, 1999).

          In this light, the authors noted the work of other researches, which suggest that great competitive advantage in the new global market could be achieved if a corporation has a good value system and corporate culture. This could only be achieved if a corporation’s leaders and managers acquire a broader perspective that involves progressive ideas such as change management and cultural flexibility. Thus, the new trend of globalization led to another trend, consisting of the focus of organizations to hire people with international experience or background (Church & Waclawski, 1999).

          The authors then focused on leadership style, which they believed was a good predictor of managerial behavior. They categorized the types of leaders according to their key characteristics. Thus there is a group of transformational leaders who concentrate on new directions and new goals, and transactional leaders who focus on getting the job done by maintaining the status quo. For these authors, transformational leaders are more likely to manifest globalization behaviors, given their tendency to focus on change (Church & Waclawski, 1999).

          After collecting data from 391 senior managers and reports within a global organization, Church and Waclawski found that there were better reports and ratings for transformational leaders. These leaders are those who “engage in behaviors relating to systems thinking, change management, relationships, and learning.” Thus, they concluded that there is a significant relationship between leadership style and actual practice of global leadership (Church & Waclawski, 1999).

Fairholm, M. R. (2004).

Different Perspectives on the Practice of Leadership. Public             Administration Review 64(5), 577-590.

            This article presents the position that public managers need to learn about leadership in order to be effective. They need to have a clear understanding of the concept of leadership, and not merely “practical and intellectual permission” to exercise it. The authors believe that since public managers are involved in leadership activities, it is useful to accept the nature of public administration as involving the practice of leadership (Fairholm, 2004).

            Fairholm explains that issues on leadership often get ignored by public administration academics. However, there are now certain people who appreciate the need to focus as a practitioner would. Since there is a link between leadership training and public sector management, then it is important that public managers receive training on leadership (Fairholm, 2004).

            Fairholm also explains leadership through the leadership perspectives model, which utilizes four encompassing leadership perspectives. This model views leadership as (1) (scientific) management; (2)excellence management; (3) values-displacement activity; (4) whole-soul (spiritual) leadership. The theory holds that while these different perspectives are distinct from each other, they are related hierarchically. In addition, they all help achieve a complete notion of leadership. (Fairholm, 2004).

Johnsrud, L. K., Heck, R. H., & Rosser, V. J. (2000). Morale Matters: Midlevel

Administrators and Their Intent to Leave. The Journal of Higher Education 71(1),          34-59.

            This paper focuses on the concept of morale, which refers to the “level of well-being that an individual or group is experiencing in reference to their worklife.” The authors feel that while there are intuitive guides that tell people that morale affects the performance of an organization, there are no clear measures to support such intuition. Thus, this article deals with the problem of accurately defining and measuring morale within an organization. In particular, it focuses on the relationship between morale and its effect on midlevel administrators (Johnsrud, Heck & Rosser, 2000).

            There are many factors affecting the morale of midlevel administrators. These include the feeling that they have no power to make decisions for the organization, and yet they are held responsible for the outcomes of such decisions. Moreover, they do not have tenure and they have limited opportunity for professional development. All of these factors affect the morale of midlevel managers (Johnsrud, Heck & Rosser, 2000).

            Finally, the authors established the construct validity of morale, using three dimensions, namely, quality of work, mutual loyalty, and institutional regard. All of these were selected because they represent attributes associated with morale (Johnsrud, Heck & Rosser, 2000).

Knights, D. & McCabe, D. (2003).

Governing through Teamwork: Reconstituting            Subjectivity in a Call Centre. Journal of Management Studies 40(7), 1587-1619.

            This article is a study of the various factors at play in a call center, which is a workplace that is governed by distance. Thus, it focuses on the concept of teamwork, and the technique of appealing to employees’ personal motivations to reach organizational goals. Among those personal motivations include sociability, unity, autonomy, and the desire for an enriching work experience (Knights & McCabe, 2003).

            The authors note a crucial element of team playing, which is individual responsibility. This implies that employees should have a certain degree of autonomy or self-determination, rather than simply follow directions of superiors. They agree with the literature on the matter that a certain degree of staff autonomy could be good for the organization. However, they feel that the effect could be that the work becomes “simultaneously more rewarding and more demanding.” Thus they believe it was necessary to further study the factors that influence the various effects of autonomy to staff members (Knights & McCabe, 2003).

Makkai, T. & Braithwaite, V. (1993). Professionalism, Organizations, and Compliance. Law & Social Inquiry 18(1), 33-59.

            This article is concerned with factors that affect organizational compliance. This concern stems from the observation that organizational compliance with the law is very important, considering the potential of an organization to affect large number of people. However, an organization is not made up of a single person, but many individuals with different mindsets. Hence, it is important for an organization’s chief executive officer to learn how to control the attitudes and performance of the organization in order to ensure compliance with state regulations (Makkai & Braithwaite, 1993).

            Makkai and Braithwaite reviewed literature on the professionalism and organizational compliance, and opined that professionalism is a complex concept that requires further investigation. More particularly, they aim to concentrate on three aspects of professionalism and their effects on organizational compliance. These aspects are values, professional autonomy, and role orientations (Makkai & Braithwaite, 1993).

            After deriving relevant data from the Australian nursing home industry, the authors found no significant direct relationship between organizational compliance and professional orientations. Since there was little support for the hypothesis that role orientations and values affect organizational compliance, the authors suggested further studies on the matter (Makkai & Braithwaite, 1993).

Sabet, M. G. & Klingner, D. (1993). Exploring The Impact of Professionalism on             Administrative Innovation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory:          J-PART 3(2), 252-266.

            This paper reports a study of three major conceptual areas vis-à-vis organizational theory. These three areas are professionalism, innovation, and drug-testing policies. For professionalism, the authors seek to determine the relationship between professionalism and innovation from the organizational perspective (Sabet & Klingner, 1993).

            The authors review the literature on the three conceptual areas. For professionalism, they discuss how professionalism “has been viewed as a structural and attitudinal variable.” They note that the literature define professionalism through five attitudinal variables, such as autonomy, belief in self-regulation, belief in service to the public, “use of professional organization as a major referent, and a “sense of calling to the field (Sabet & Klingner, 1993).”

            After sending questionnaires to personnel directors with a study population of 209, the authors found that managers with higher professionalism are more likely to implement policies, such as drug-testing, that affect the tendency of the organization to innovate. Furthermore, they found a significant relationship between the degree of professionalism of a personnel director and the character of the policies he implements. (Sabet & Klingner, 1993).

Sarros, J. C., Tanewski, G. A., Winter, R. P., Santora, J. C. & Densten, I. L. (2002).      Work Alienation and Organizational Leadership. British Journal of Management            13, 285-304.

            This article describes a study conducted to determine the relationship between a leader’s behavior and organizational structure and work alienation. The authors studied factors that alter workplace structure and culture. Moreover, they are concerned about understanding how to reduce alienation or the feeling of powerlessness at work (Sarros, Tanewski, Winter, Santora & Densten, 2002).

            The authors noted that throughout the literature of work alienation, the concept, meaning and measurement of the term had been vague or ambiguous, which led to the variance in interpretations of the concept. Thus, they quote both the earliest and latest interpretations of alienation. They quote Marx and Weber, who believe that “alienation is a state (or feeling) in which the job is external to the individual,” and such feeling is caused by lack of autonomy in the workplace. They also cite Seaman who described alienation by enumerating its five components, namely, powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness and isolation, and self-estrangement (Sarros, Tanewski, Winter, Santora & Densten, 2002).

            After taking a survey using questionnaires distributed to more than 600 officers of fire departments, the authors concluded that employee behavior and attitudes, such as work alienation, could be affected and mitigated by actions taken by organizational leaders. For example, such could be accomplished by mitigating the rigidity extant in hierarchical structures within the organization and thereby reduce the tendency for work alienation (Sarros, Tanewski, Winter, Santora & Densten, 2002).

Thamhain, H. J. (2003). Managing innovative R&D teams. R&D Management 33(3),     297-311.

         This paper involves a study of the subject of innovation vis-à-vis project performance in a technological environment. The author observed that innovation is an effective tool in business, particularly in ensuring superior performance, good products and services, and lower cost. The author likewise notes that interdisciplinary teamwork could make the difference between the success and failure of a business. Such teamwork is perceived to be more crucial than mere generation of innovative ideas at the R&D stage. Thus, it is posited that a team has more chances at success if it is able to “facilitate a team environment conducive to market-orientation innovation” (Thamhain, 2003).

          In order to determine the factors relevant to innovative R&D performance, the author sought to understand the barriers and drivers to good performance. The study led to the understanding of the type of managerial leadership and organizational environment that is conducive to innovative performance. The author chose the research format of an exploratory field research, due to constraints caused by complexities or the absence of theories on the subject. Thus, he utilized questionnaires and qualitative methods, such as participant observation and in-depth retrospective interviewing in order to understand the challenges involved in the R&D process within a company. The interviews and questionnaires he used were previously used in other field studies related in the subject of R&D management (Thamhain, 2003).

          Data gathered from 74 project teams and 935 professionals were analyzed using standard statistical methods. The author found that team members’ perception of reality affect their behavior. Actions of a manager could affect and stimulate team behavior. This finding relative to perceptional measures is important because it guides managers into acting towards the encouragement of a project environment that is conducive to the needs of the team (Thamhain, 2003).

          The author then discusses the various influences to innovative team performance, and classified them into three, namely, “(a) people, (b) organizational process, tools and techniques, and (c) R&D work/task.” As to the first group of factors, he found personal interest, professional challenges and recognition, and pride as significant drivers. As to the second group, he found effective communications, stable priorities and goals, effective support systems, and cooperation as important elements of effective performance. Finally, he found certain personal aspects of work, such as job skills, experience, and interest, to be relevant drivers for effective performance. Proper understanding of these factors lead to better innovative performance (Thamhain, 2003).

Vance, C. & Larson, E. (2002). Leadership Research in Business and Health Care.       Journal of Nursing Scholarship 34(2), 165-171.

          This article is a summary and analysis of the literature on the subject of leadership, particularly in the fields of health care and business. Vance and Larson noted that the concept of leadership had evolved over the years that it had been the constant subject of research. Thus, it has been subject of various conceptualizations and has been viewed as both a behavioral and perceptual phenomenon.  Vance and Larson likewise believe that it would be pointless to endeavor to reach a single definition of leadership, because it could take various definitions, depending on the various aspects of leadership concerned (Vance & Larson, 2002).

          In order to arrive at the outcomes of leadership on organizations, groups, and individuals, the authors conducted a study by reviewing studies spanning thirty years, from January 1970 through December 1999. After screening articles and categorized, the authors analyzed the data using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). They found that most studies focused on the topic of leadership characteristics, training and measures. They also found that leadership in the business setting had been treated with more frequency than in health care literature (Vance & Larson, 2002).

          Given their findings, the authors concluded that there is a need to change the focus of research on the subject of leadership. They noted that there are now many indicators of this need, such as the increasing demand for leaders in health-related fields and the globalization of organizations. The authors likewise focused on certain aspects of leadership with little literature, such as the relationship between leadership and organizational outcomes, causal relationships, intervening factors, and leadership intervention styles (Vance & Larson, 2002).

          Finally, the authors criticize how the literature on leadership in the business and health care literature is limited to descriptive treatment of the subject. The fields of health care and business provide fertile ground for research on causal relationships and leadership styles, which could yield vital findings for the subject’s literature (Vance & Larson, 2002).

References

Andersson, L. M. & Pearson, C. M. (1999). Tit for Tat? The Spiraling Effect of Incivility in         the Workplace. The Academy of Management Review 24(3), 452-471.

 Church, A. H. & Waclawski, J. (1999). The Impact of Leadership Style on Global            Management Practices. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29(7), 1416-1443.

Fairholm, M. R. (2004). Different Perspectives on the Practice of Leadership. Public             Administration Review 64(5), 577-590.

Johnsrud, L. K., Heck, R. H., & Rosser, V. J. (2000). Morale Matters: Midlevel    Administrators and Their Intent to Leave. The Journal of Higher Education 71(1),          34-59.

Knights, D. & McCabe, D. (2003). Governing through Teamwork: Reconstituting            Subjectivity in a Call Centre. Journal of Management Studies 40(7), 1587-1619.

Makkai, T. & Braithwaite, V. (1993). Professionalism, Organizations, and Compliance. Law & Social Inquiry 18(1), 33-59.

Sabet, M. G. & Klingner, D. (1993). Exploring The Impact of Professionalism on             Administrative Innovation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory:          J-PART 3(2), 252-266.

Sarros, J. C., Tanewski, G. A., Winter, R. P., Santora, J. C. & Densten, I. L. (2002).      Work Alienation and Organizational Leadership. British Journal of Management            13, 285-304.

Thamhain, H. J. (2003). Managing innovative R&D teams. R&D Management 33(3),     297-311.

Vance, C. & Larson, E. (2002). Leadership Research in Business and Health Care.       Journal of Nursing Scholarship 34(2), 165-171.

 

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